JICA Assisted Water Supply Project Commissioning Delayed Again in Guwahati
GUWAHATI: The Japan International Cooperation Agency-assisted (JICA) water supply project which was supposed to be partially commissioned by the end of January has been delayed again.
Officials informed that they are now planning to finish the partial commissioning work within February, i.e. this month.
“The work is ongoing in full swing and we are expecting to finish the work by the first half of February,” mentioned deputy chairman of the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) Mukuta Deka.
G Plus had previously reported that around 2,000 houses would be benefitted by the first phase of the project and would receive 24X7 water supply. Officials had earlier informed that the project was slated to begin by the end of January and this has again got deferred.
Houses around the Pan Bazar and Fancy Bazar areas of the city were to be benefitted by the first phase of commissioning.
JICA is assisting a water supply project in the Northern Guwahati region as well as in South-Central Guwahati. The project was initiated to ensure uninterrupted 24X7 water supply to the respective regions of the city. Officials said that the entire project is expected to be to be completed approximately by 2020.
The Northern Guwahati Water Supply Project is slated to provide 38 million litres per day (MLD) of water to North Guwahati, once completed.
As per the authorities, the project consists of four major parts of construction. These include, building the intake wells in the Brahmaputra River, construction of the water treatment plant, building of the reservoirs and finally the supply network.
Officials informed that the construction work for the water treatment plant has already been completed and water testing is currently underway at the plant. They further mentioned that construction of the Kamakhya reservoir is ongoing and will soon be completed.
Talking about the reasons for the consecutive delay in the project, authorities said that contractor issues were the main reason behind it.
The total project cost is estimated to be around Rs 1,450 crores. Out of this, around Rs 1,300 crores is coming as a loan from JICA and the rest from the state government.
Apart from the contractor issues, interference by locals also hindered the smooth functioning of the project.
The locals had earlier threatened that if they were not involved in the construction process, they will not let the work be completed. They expressed their demand to supply construction materials to the sites. However, the matter was resolved later.
The physical work of the water supply project began during the first half of 2012 and was supposed to be completed in 28 months.
Water- a major issue for Guwahatians
Water scarcity has been a major issue for the residents of the city. G Plus conducted a survey “Let’s Talk Guwahati” earlier this year which revealed that four out of every ten houses in the city do not have a water connection, while half of those who have water connection do not receive sufficient water supply from different government agencies.
In the survey, more than 10,000 people from over 100 locations in the city were asked about the various issues they face in the city.
While 40 per cent of the respondents said that they did not have a water connection in their house, 48.3 per cent of the participants said that they receive insufficient water supply from the various government agencies responsible for supplying water namely Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), Guwahati Metropolitan Drinking Water & Sewage Board (GMDW&SB) and Public Health Engineering department.
The water scarcity problem becomes worse during the winters; residents of various areas of the city like the RG Baruah Road (commonly known as Zoo Road) and Christian Basti have to depend entirely on private water suppliers to fulfil their daily water requirements.
Experts say that the main cause for concern is the depleting underground water level which is decreasing day by day.
“Metropolitan cities such as Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai, also face water crisis but there the governments are actively involved in providing relief to the residents,” Debajit Borah, a Guwahati-based builder informed G Plus.
He added that the Assam government, too, should follow their footsteps and provide water facility to areas with low levels of groundwater.
“The city needs to be properly planned and developed by the authorities so that the increasing number of housing complexes can be sustained in a proper manner. The government should think of building some infrastructure for water-related projects,” said Borah.
Another city-based builder mentioned that the average individual requirement of water is 150 litres on a daily basis.